Skip to main content Skip to local navigation
Home » Projects » Current Projects » GenUrb - Urbanization, Gender, and the Global South: A transformative knowledge network

GenUrb - Urbanization, Gender, and the Global South: A transformative knowledge network

Situated within the dynamic early 21st century context of urbanization, the proposed research project will be conducted in seven strategically chosen cities in lower middle-income countries to advance understanding of how the relationship between poverty and inequality is being transformed, focusing in particular on how this is reconstituting gender relations and women’s right to the city. The research is timely given that it was only very recently that the majority of the world’s population began living in urban centres, with urbanization fueled by rapid urban population growth in the urban global south (through natural increase and migration) and largely unrestrained capital mobility and accumulation. The partnership also coincides with the launch in 2015/16 of new global urban development platforms: UN-Habitat’s ‘New Urban Agenda’ will lay the groundwork for new sustainability and urbanization policies and practices, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will address women’s needs through SDG 5 (‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’), while SDG 11 (‘Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’), the first ever global urban goal, will focus on ameliorating the negative consequences of rapid urbanization. This huge global urban transformation is now characterized by an increase in social, economic and environmental inequalities and, in particular, in the last decade by the urbanisation of poverty. Women represent a disproportionate percentage of the urban poor, with the brunt of housing and employment insecurity, poor transportation infrastructures, violence, and environmental disasters in urban settings felt most deeply by poor working women. At the same time, urbanization presents opportunities for women. The large-scale, rapid pace and relative newness of these urban transformations, however means little is known about how they are reconfiguring inequalities between women and men, issues vital for equity, belonging, and justice and for democratic and sustainable urban development.

York U receives SSHRC funding for major urbanization and gender in global south project (York announcement)


Prof. Linda Peake

Director urban activities (since becoming Director of the City Institute)

Linda Peake is Director of the City Institute at York University, Toronto, and principal investigator of the SSHRC funded GenUrb: Gender, urbanization and the global south. She has written widely in the field of critical human geography with interests in urban theory, feminist methodologies and, more recently, mental health. She is co-chair of the AAG Affinity Group on Mental Health in the Academy, co-editor of the special issue on ‘An engagement with planetary urbanization’ in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space (2018), of Urbanization In A Global Context, second ed. (forthcoming, OUP) (with Alison Bain), and of Peake, L., Koleth, E., Tanyildiz, G., S. Narayanareddy, R. N., and patrick, d. (eds) (forthcoming) A Feminist Urban Theory for our Time: Rethinking Social Reproduction and the Urban (London: Antipode Book Series, Wiley).

Leeann Bennett

Grant Manager
Leeann Bennett is the Grant Manager of the new SSHRC Partnership Grant, Urbanization, Gender, and the Global South: a transformative knowledge network, with Dr. Linda Peake, at the City Institute. She took on this role in November 2017. Leeann has been the coordinator of the CITY Institute since April 2017, but has worked at CITY in various roles since 2013.  Leeann has a Master's degree in Women's Studies from York University. Her research interests include Sexuality Studies, particularly sex work and LGBTQ activism, Caribbean Studies, transnational feminism, feminist methods and methodologies, and popular culture.

Elsa Koleth

Elsa Koleth is a Post-Doctoral Visitor at the City Institute at York University. During her time at CITY Elsa will be working on the SSHRC Partnership Project, ‘Gender and Urbanisation in the Global South: a Transformative Knowledge Network’ (GenUrb) under the leadership of Professor Linda Peake. Elsa completed her doctorate at The University of Sydney in the field of migration studies with a thesis entitled ‘Haunted borders: temporary migration and the recalibration of racialized belonging in Australia’. During her doctoral study Elsa was a researcher in an international study funded by the Australian Research Council on Social Transformation and International Migration in the Twenty-First Century (STIM). She has previously worked in legal policy and parliamentary research roles in Australia. Elsa’s research interests include the spatialities and temporalities of processes of urbanisation, migration and mobility, transnationalism and border-making, and the shifting nature of governmentalities and subjectivities, particularly in relation to the intersections of race, gender and class.

Jamilla Mohamud

Jamilla is an undergraduate student completing a Bachelors in Environmental Studies with an area of focus in Urban and Regional Planning. She is interested in city building through community partnership and understanding the intersecting issues that communities confront as part of the process of urbanization.

Jamilla will be working as a research assistant on the SSHRC PG Grant, "Urbanization, Gender, and the Global South: A transformative knowledge Network (GENURB)" for Fall and Winter 2017/18.

Esteban Sabbatasso

Esteban Sabbatasso is a Graduate Assistant for GenUrb for Fall and Winter 2017/18.  He will be helping to create and administer the project website.  Esteban is a Masters student in the department of Politics at York University.  His research interests include postcolonial studies, international development, indigenous studies, new social movements and civil society in the global south.

Esteban has 10 years of experience in communications and project management in the non-profit sector, including community development in villas miseria (shanty towns) in South America.

Rawan Mostafa

Rawan is an undergraduate student finishing her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Professional Writing. She is interested in intersectional feminism and the implications of neocolonialism on urban life in the Global South. Rawan was awarded the Dean’s Award for Research Excellence (DARE) and will be working as a research assistant on the “Urbanization, Gender, and the Global South: A transformative knowledge network (GenUrb)” project for Summer and Fall 2018.